I’m in the middle of a long-term substitute teaching job — six out of seven weeks, and it’s reminding me about all the little irritants that come with teaching.
I’m not talking discipline. I’ve had discipline problems in the past, and there are none in the five classes I have in this current job. I’m talking about the little things that wear you down and stretch your system to the limit.
For example, the juniors had an assembly today that caused them to miss half of first period. (They were listening to campaign speeches from candidates for next year’s class offices.) I think there is enough slack built into the schedule that it won’t be a problem, but it seems like there is always something like that — from fire drills to snow days — that cut into instruction time and can make a shambles of a semester schedule.
Also, there are activities going on that are causing students to miss class time. These can include field trips for other classes, extra activities like theater productions, and college visits. That’s in addition to the normal illnesses and family activities. I gave a major test in three classes today, and I must have had eight students unable to take it for one reason or another, plus absences. Of course, it’s their responsibility to make up missed work, but still, I don’t want to see someone’s record jeopardized at the end of the year because of a missing grade in the gradebook.
It’s not the big things in life that get you into trouble, it’s the little things.